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Gabrielle, Psychotic Bard

By Bill Leasure

wleasure@frankgates.com

GENERAL COPYRIGHT/DISCLAIMER:

Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.

NOTE: All works remain the © copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.

VIOLENCE WARNING/DISCLAIMER:

This story depicts scenes of violence and/or their aftermath. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.

HURT/COMFORT WARNING/DISCLAIMER:

This story may be best classified as a Hurt/Comfort Story involving the characters Xena: Warrior Princess and Gabrielle. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of issue may wish to read something other than this story.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE WARNING/DISCLAIMER:

This story depicts scenes of sexual violence and/or their aftermath. Some readers may be disturbed by this type of depiction and anyone who is sensitive to this particular issue may wish to read something other than this story.

LOVE/SEX WARNING/DISCLAIMER:

This story depicts a love/sexual relationship between two consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age or if this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you live, please do not read it. If depictions of this nature disturb you, you may wish to read something other than this story.


Authors Note: This story is set in a different timeline, branching off after the episode "Gabrielleís Hope." This is my first attempt at fan fiction. Any comments you readers may have would be appreciated. I may or may not write another story, hence the question mark at the end.

The Forest

"How long till we get to the docks?" called Gabrielle as she finished filling the water skins "and out of this Zeus forsaken place" under her breath.

"About a day and a half." Replied the Raven-haired warrior. Xena noted the young bardís impatient tone. The past month had been hard on her friend thought Xena. Losing her blood innocence, giving birth to the Daughter of Dahak, having to abandon the child to protect it from the warrior princess.

As the young bard returned to Xenaís Palomino mount, Argo, several large thugs came down the trail towards the pair.

"How about some fun boys?" Chuckled the leader. He was known only as Scar, for the jagged cut on his left cheek.

Gabrielle, noting their approach, slid her right foot under the amazon fighting staff. While she continued to secure their water bags to Argoís saddle, she heard Scar talk to her.

"How about girlie, think you can spare some time for the good fighting men of Britannia?" Leered Scar.

"Look dung breath, I have had a miserable time since I got to this mud pit you call Britannia. Now I suggest that you leave, while you can still walk." Gabrielle replied coldly.

Xena, who had been maneuvering behind the group of thugs, was surprise to hear how the usually non-confrontational Gabrielle was speaking.

"Oh my, we are sooooooooo scared, ainít we boys. What you gonna do girlie, call us names?" Mocked a second thug

Without warning, Gabrielle kicked the staff up into her waiting hands and waded into the group. She caught the first man totally off guard and landed a staggering blow to his mid section then brought the staff up, breaking his nose. Xena, using the distraction, let loose with her distinctive battle cry and flipped into the fray. The warrior Princess quickly dispatched her opponent with a series of lightning fast kicks, finishing him off with a vicious upper cut.

Stealing a glance over at her companion, Xena had to smile. The bard had knocked two men out and a third was about to join them. The smile was short lived. She then noticed that the bard was fighting with a zeal and blood lust that made Xena cringe. Scar was beside himself, never before had he seen a woman best his men, and so quickly.

"What in Hades are you?" asked the warlord

Gabrielle didnít even blink as she answered "The last thing youíll ever see."

Not knowing what else to do, Scar charged the young woman, broadsword in hand. Waiting until the last second, Gabrielle coolly sidestepped the berserking warlord and clipped him in the back of the knees.

Xena, amazed and horrified by what she was watching, gasped as Gabrielle executed a perfect mimic of her own back flip and landed in front of the downed warlord. Gabrielle then reached down, picking up the fallen broadsword. Studying the blade, she twirled it as if she had been handling a sword all her life.

"This is for all the people who ever suffered because of you." Uttered the warrior bard as she prepared to run Scar through.

Xena; realizing what was about to happen; ran up behind Gabrielle, jamming two fingers into her spine just above her waist. Gabrielleís eyes rolled back as she fell unconscious into Xenaís waiting arms.

"Get out of here before she wakes up!" Yelled the warrior princess.

Recovering his wits, but not his sword or friends, Scar ran off in the direction he had come from.

Xena laid the peaceful form down under a tree and began to collect their belongings. She was just finishing as Gabrielle began to stir.

"What in the name of Zeus hit me?" asked a groggy Gabrielle, rubbing her sore back

"I had to use a pressure point on you. You were about to kill that guy, whatís up with that? And when did you start doing backflips? You never do backflips." Answered Xena.

"I really donít remember much of that. All I remember is being so angry and…" the bard was at a lost for words. "I was going to kill a man?"

Gabrielle reacted to that news like she had after her first kill, she threw up breakfast.

"Ya, if I had been two seconds later." Xena answered, as she handed over the water skin.

Already she was trying to figure out what was going on. The next few hours pasted uneventfully.

"Weíll stop here for a short rest" Stated the warrior.

As Gabrielle sat down under a tree, Xena walked into the forest.

"Okay Ares, my skins crawling, so where are you?" Asked Xena

"Someday you have got to tell me how you do that." Lamented the God of War

"What have you done to Gabrielle?" Demanded Xena, her short fuse rapidly burning up.

"As much as I would love to take the credit, it wasnít me." Stated Ares

"What?" asked a stunned warrior

"I didnít do anything" repeated the God

"If it wasnít you then who was it?" Asked Xena to no one in particular.

"Not my concern. But If I were you, Iíd keep an eye on the girlfriend." Retorted Ares as he vanished

"Sheís not my girlfriend!" screamed Xena

As Xena slowly made her way back to the road, she was surprised to see Gabrielle already astride Argo.

"Letís go Xena, weíre wasting daylight." Shouted Gabrielle from the trail "What? Weíll make better time if we both ride."

"Itís just that you donít normally like to ride Argo." Answered a stunned Xena

"Well, things change." Snapped Gabrielle

As they rode, an uncomfortable silence settled over the pair. Normally by this time Xena would be wishing that Gabrielle would stop talking. Now she wanted to hear Gabrielleís voice more than ever.

"Any new stories youíve been working on?" Inquired Xena in an attempt to get the Bard to talk.

"No." Gabrielle answered curtly.

Xena pulled back on the reins to stop the palomino war-horse.

"Thatís it! This attitude is wearing thin." Shouted the warrior.

"Fine, Letís do it." Responded Gabrielle as her right fist connected with Xenaís jaw.

"I donít want to fight you." Said Xena as she wiped the blood from her lip.

"Well, I do. This has been a long time coming, you think I want to be a bard after what I have seen? I now understand why you became a warrior, the power, the thrill of the battle, the sheer exhilaration of the unpredictable. Thatís what I want now. You taught me all I need to know; all I have to do now is raise an army. That shouldnít be a problem. You want to join?" Cackled the bard.

What is wrong with her thought Xena as Gabrielle began a new offensive. Xena caught the young girlsí wrists and flipped Gabrielle over her head. However, Gabrielle landed on her feet and kicked Xena in the back. In a nearly blind rage, Xena lashed out and landed a kick in Gabrielleís mid section.

"Had enough?" asked Xena as she rose to her feet

"Iím just getting warmed up." Snarled Gabrielle

"Whatís going on, this isnít like you?" Asked Xena

"Itís the new me," replied Gabrielle "you like it."

How can I stop her without killing her? Thought Xena. She knew the spinal point wouldnít work a second time on Gabrielle. The answer came to her as the panting Bard charged. Waiting till the last second, Xena flipped over the Bard and clamped her in a massive bear hug. Like an Anaconda, Xena tightened her hold until the young woman passed out.

As the two combatants lay on the ground, Xena began to talk to the unconscious woman.

"Gabrielle, whatís happening to you? Ares says he didnít cause this, who did?" Xena asked to no one.

"Ares told the truth, he is not responsible." Answered a calm soothing voice

"Artimes, what are you doing here?" Asked a surprised Xena

"Watching over the leader of the Amazons." Answered Artimes "None of the Olympian Gods did this. But you were correct to suspect a gods hand in this."

"Dahak?" Asked Xena, already knowing the answer.

"Correct, and as much as you want to exact retribution on those who did this to her, she needs you more than ever. If you have any feelings for her, you will stay with her. She is vulnerable to all the evil and darkness that she carried with Hope. The goodness that saved you is slowly being corrupted and destroyed." Explained the Goddess

"How can we stop this, or help her or something?" Asked Xena

"We can do nothing for her, this is a fight you can not fight for her. Gabrielle must battle for herself, with her soul the prize."

"You mean that I canít do anything to help her?" asked Xena

"No, you must be there for her." Answered the Goddess "These next few days are critical, if the Gabrielle we know is to survive. She needs you, now more than ever. She will be torn between the worlds of good and evil. You have to show her the way, as she did for you. If you ever had any feelings for Gabrielle, help her, or she may become a more ruthless warlord than you were."

"Worse than me? Is that a possibility?" Asked a stunned Xena

"Yes, and the warlord will lead my amazons to their collective deaths." Replied Artimes

"Isnít there some god thing you can do to reverse the evil or something?"

"Sadly no there is nothing I can do. Even though Dahak is a god, this must be settled in the mortal realm." As Artimes began to vanish, she added "Be strong for she needs you."

Xenaís mind began to spin with all she now knew. The girlfriend was Gabrielle, but she was Dahakís girlfriend.

How could she help her friend?

What if she failed?

Would the world suffer because of her failure?

Gabrielleís stirring brought her out of the questions.

"Oh" Moaned the Bard, "It feels like my ribs are crushed."

"Sorry, I was trying to subdue you without killing you." Answered the Warrior Princess "You pack a mean right cross. I think you split my lip."

"I do, I mean I hit you. When did I do that? Whatís going on? Are you knocking me out for fun." Anger began to creep into her voice "Youíre jealous of my position as Amazon Princess. Thatís it, you want to lead an army again."

"No, I am not knocking you out for fun, and you were the one talking about leading an army, you even asked me to join." Responded Xena

"You in my Army, what a joke. You canít even kill me. What makes you think I want a weak, pathetic ex-warlord in my army." Roared the Bard

With Xena wondering what was going on, the young Bard attacked. Gabrielle connected with a series of rapid kicks to the midsection. She followed up with a vicious chop to the back of Xenaís neck. Looking down at the fallen woman, Gabrielle decided that it would be more fun to let her live. After disarming the former warlord and securing Xena to a tree, Gabrielle mounted Argo and began to ride toward a nearby village, where she knew she could get the beginnings of her army.

"What in the name of Hades…" Xena began to ask, until she realized that she was tied to a large oak tree. O Kay, how do I get out of this one Thought Xena. She began to twist her hands hoping to get a little slack. Need to work on your not tying girl, now to get my friend back.

The Village Tavern

"All right, I am looking for some strong men for my army. All you have to do to get in, is fight me." Announced the new warlord

"Go home little girl, before someone hurts you." Said the Barkeep

"Give an ale and make it quick." Barked Gabrielle.

" You sure you can handle this?" asked the Barkeep as he handed over the mug

To answer his question, Gabrielle slammed back the ale and ordered another. She took the second and processed to an open table. After a few minutes several thugs approached her and began to ask about the army.

"So let me get this straight, youíre raising an army and are asking for volunteers." Asked the first man

"Basically. However you have to fight me in one on one combat to get in." answered the warlord

"No problem, Iíll. . ." he never finished his thought. Gabrielle had rammed a small dagger into his eye.

"He didnít make the cut, no pun intended." Said Gabrielle looking at the dead body at her feet.

"O K whoís next to join?"

"I am." Answered a familiar voice.

"Xena, canít you take a hint. You canít have Gabrielle. SHEíS MINE!" shouted the enraged warlord

"Sorry, I was always stubborn when it came to my friends." Xena retorted, throwing the rope at Gabrielle "You need to learn to tie your knots better."

"The only knots youíll need when Iím done will be the ones on your death shroud!"

Shouted the young warlord "Attack!"

No one moved.

"I order you to attack. You wanted to be in my army, so get use to following my orders. ATTACK!"

"Are you INSANE, thatís Xena. She rode through this village once and killed everyone she ran into. Not one of our fighters got a swing off against her." Said one of Gabrielleís former soldiers, throwing his sword down "Iím not gonna die at her blade."

As one, all the other men who were joining Gabrielleís army walked away.

"You need to get a reputation before you can raise an army. Now Gabrielle, lets go get you some help." Stated the Warrior Princess

"I donít need any help, I need some men with spines. Oh well, I guess if you want something done right, kill them yourself." Gabrielle roared as she drew Xenaís sword and brought it down towards Xenaís head.

At the last second, Xena caught the blade between her hands and rammed the hilt into Gabrielleís forehead. With the new warlord staggered, Xena sheathed her sword and prepared to defend herself.

Wiping the blood from her forehead, Gabrielle launched a kick at Xenaís knee and then to her head. Xena managed to turn enough to catch most of the kick with her shoulder, but stumbled slightly. Gabrielle pressed her advantage. She flipped onto Xenaís shoulders and began to rain punches down on Xenaís unprotected head. Xena, remembering where the furniture was located, fell backwards, slamming Gabrielle through a table. The Table was made of strong oak, but Gabrielleís fall had reduced it to splinters. As Xena rose, she noticed that Gabrielle wasnít moving and blood was pouring form an unseen head wound.

"Is there a healer in this village?" Xena asked

"I am." said an older man "Letís see what we have here. Head lacerations, possible skull fracture, shoulder separation, and splinters all over her upper back. Letís get her to my house so I can treat her injuries. Boil some water, Jerus."

"Already on the fire. Need some help moving her." Responded the Barkeep

"No, I think there are enough men here; but some rags would be nice. We have to stop the bleeding." The healer answered

What have I done? I was only trying to subdue her. What if I cause her death? How will I continue on without her? All these questions filled Xenaís head as tears filled her eyes

"Iím so sorry Gabrielle. I never meant to hurt you." Xena said softly as she stroked Gabrielleís cheek.

" Excuse me I need in here. OK, letís move her, on three 1, 2, 3. Careful, try not to move her head any more than you have to. Someone open the door. Careful, Careful. Someone get my door. Over there on the cot; Gently, Alright, thank you for your help. Here, have a round on me." The Healer said as a group of men who moved the bard to his hut "Iím sorry Xena, but you have to wait out here. Iíll cal you if there is any change."

"Iím staying with her. Sheís going to need to see a friendly face when she wakes up." Xena answered

"Alright, then make yourself useful and hand me the Herbs-balm." Said the healer

"Which one is that?" asked Xena, staring at several clear liquids.

"The one that smells like Buttercups." Answered Altos pointing to a row of jars

Xena lifted the led and inhaled the fumes. She suddenly became light-headed and her knees buckled. What the … was the last thing she thought as the blackness engulfed her.

Xena was awakened from her first good nights sleep in gods knew how long by the knocking on the door. She notice that her boots on the floor and her weapons on the table. How did I get here? She silently asked as she opened the door.

"Jerus thought you would be hungry." Said the serving girl as she brought in a tray with breakfast items.

"When did I get here. The last thing I remember is helping Altos with some herbs or something and then waking up in this room?" Inquired the warrior

"Herb-balm. Uses it every time some friend or family member refuses to leave. Two men carried you in here last night and youíve been asleep since then." Answered the woman.

I was so concerned about Gabrielle that I fell for that trick. Youíre slipping Xena. She mentally berated herself

"Youíre not the first and most likely wont be the last." Leda reassured the tall woman.

"Thank you. Have you heard anything about my friend?"

"No, but I have not been down to the healerís hut yet." Leda replied

"Let me grab my boots and weíll go together." Xena offered "besides, I canít recall where it is, I was so worried about Gabrielle."

"Eat something first, I have to get the tray ready for the Healer." Leda said "Youíll be no good to your Friend if you pass out from hunger."

I havenít had anything in over a day. The Warrior thought, as she looked over the tray on the table. After she finished her meal, Xena selected a large red apple and some nutbread. Each was for a female Xena cared about. Argo will love this apple, and nutbread is Gabrielleís favorite.

"Letís go. You need a hand with that tray?" Xena asked as she came down the stairs

"No Thank you, did you sleep well?" answered Leda

"I still canít believe that I fell for his trick." Xena berated herself some more

"Heís trickier than you know." Stated Leda, picking up the tray

The two walked in silence. Passing several houses and business, they came to the Healers hut. Leda walked up to the door and entered; Xena followed a few steps behind.

"Here you are, your usual breakfast: Three eggs, ham slices, biscuits, and fresh fruit."

Said Leda

"Thank you, please put it on the table. Iím sorry Xena about the Herb-Balm, but you needed to sleep and I needed some quiet to work. I managed to close the head wound and the shoulder is severely bruised, but not separated."

"What is in that stuff? Iíve seen most poisons, elixirs, or potions and nothing I know of works that fast." Asked Xena

"Itís my own special brew. No one but me knows whatís in it." Answered Altos

Xena looked down at the sleeping form and her breath caught in her throat. Gabrielle had a bandage around her head and a pile of hair could be seen on the floor. Her arm was tied to her body to prevent the shoulder from moving. What could be seen was one single bruise. Gabrielleís face was swelled so badly it was almost unrecognizable. Even if she had been awake, her eyes would have been almost swelled shut. Slowly Xena sat next to Gabrielle, careful not to touch her.

"Hey there, I brought you some nutbread. Thought you might be hungry. Will she be OK?" Asked Xena

"I think so; at least physically. Mentally I canít tell. She has been talking in her sleep. Has she been traumatized recently? She keeps yelling like sheís being attacked" Altos quietly asked

"About a month ago she was raped by the god Dahak. She carried his child and then after it tried to kill her, Gabrielle threw it over a cliff. Artimes says that the evil is corrupting her goodness." Xena answered in a whisper

"OK, sheís going to need to work through this. Youíre going to have to support her emotionally. The next few weeks are going to be really tough on her. Thatís after she recovers from these injuries." Altos said

"IF? What do you mean IF. Sheís going to be all right. Sheí Gabrielle; the Bard Of Potidia." Xena stated

"The head wound was worse than I thought. The bleeding has stopped, but I donít know if there are any lasting effects." Altos answered calmly "You say sheís a bard. We could use a good bard around here."

"I just hope she comes out of this, or you get a warlord not a bard" Xena responded

Gabrielle, still unconscious, began to moan and toss in the bed. Xena took this a sign that she might wake up; Altos was more cautious, having seen this type of wound before.

"NO! Stop it, get off me." Shouted the sleeping bard

Gabrielle sat bolt upright in the cot, screaming.

"Gabrielle, calm down. Youíre all right. Nothingís going to get you, not while Iím here. Lay down so you donít pass out. You gave us quite a scare. Are you hungry?" Xena asked through the tears of joy

"What hit me?" Gabrielle asked as she reached for her throbbing head. When her hand touched the bandage, she stopped cold. "Where is my hair? What happened Xena?"

"Your hair had to be cut off to get to the wound. You got the wound when you fell through the table and you fell through the table because you jumped on my shoulders." Xena told her bluntly

"Your shoulders never gave in before, are you ill?" Gabrielle joked

"No, but you are. And you were punching me, thatís why you fell. Artimes said that the evil from Hope is corrupting your goodness, you need to get some help to beat this thing. You want some nutbread?" The warrior Princess told her

"Nutbread, Iím being taken over by a demon and you ask about nutbread. Yes, Iíd love some, any cider?" Gabrielle wanted to know

"Be right back." Leda said from the corner

"Xena, could you help me to the outhouse. I have to go." Gabrielle asked after devouring the nutbread. As Xena put her arms around the injured woman, Gabrielle grabbed a handful of hair and slammed Xenaís face into her knee. Altos reacted quickly; he threw a small vile of Herb-Balm at Gabrielle. She laughed as the bottle broke in front of her.

"You throw worse than a girl." Gabrielle said, the edge on her voice cut like a blade

She advanced on Altos. As she stepped over the broken glass, Gabrielle inhaled the fumes and passed out. Altos opened up his windows to vent the noxious gas.

Better get some help with her Altos thought as he searched for the antidote.

"What did she do this time?" a punch-drunk Xena asked.

"Knee to the face. She had nice technique if it makes you fell better." The Healer answered. "Help me tie her to the bed. Until we can help her with this darkness; sheís more dangerous than a caged harpy."

"Everyone always worried about me returning to evil. I never thought that Gabrielle would turn. What if she canít work through this?" Xena wondered out loud.

"If it comes to that, I have some poison. Itís quick and painless. Sheíll never feel it." Altos offered

"I donít think I could do that to her." Xena commented quietly. "Letís try to wake her and see if sheís better."

"O K, but be prepared for trouble." Warned the Healer as he uncorked the bottle containing the antidote.

"Xena, what happened? I keep waking up in worse shape. Hi, do I know you? Itís hard to see." The Bard asked

"No, Iím Altos, the Healer. Think you can sit up; I need check your head?" Altos asked, as he untied one hand

"Iíll try. What happened to my head anyway? Why is my arm tied up too?" Gabrielle responded

"You had an accident. You had some bad cider, thought you could fly, and jumped off a chair, landed through a table." Lied the Healer "The shoulder is severely bruised and I didnít want you to aggravate it before the swelling went down."

"Xena, where are you I can hardly see." Gabrielle looked through her swelled eyes

"Right here, Gabrielle." Xena said as she took the Bardís good hand

"Xena did I make an ass out of myself?" Gabrielle asked

"It was the cider; not you" Xena Continued the lie.

"I had the strangest dream. I was trying to raise an army. I tied you to a tree and Artimes was trying to help me. Whatís really going on Xena? Am I going crazy?" Asked Gabrielle, tears welling up in her eyes.

"O K Gabrielle, the truth is that the evil from Hope is corrupting your soul and I dropped you through the table. Did you really see Artimes?" Xena asked

"Yes, I did. Is there anything that she can do? I donít like these blackouts. Plus the thought of me leading an army is crazy." Gabrielle responded, beginning to sound like her normal self

"Should I tell her?" Xena asked Altos

"Better now than later." He answered

"Get a pail ready." Xena said to Altos, "Gabrielle, when you were recruiting for your army, um, you uh, kinda killed a man." Xena finished cautiously

"I, uh, killed, oh, some. . ." Gabrielle managed before she throw up the nutbread and cider.

"Here you go. This should settle your stomach and get rid of that taste." Altos stated as he handed Gabrielle a mug.

"Thank you." Gabrielle said after the beverage was gone. "Xena, I need you to promise me something. Promise me that if you canít save me, youíll kill me." Gabrielle raised her hand "Hear me out, please I donít think I can say this twice. If you have to kill me, the Gabrielle that you knew will already be dead." Gabrielle looked at the warrior princess.

Xena, realizing what Gabrielle was asking of her, broke down. Gabrielle held the woman with her good arm and rocked back and forth, like a mother soothing a child. After few minutes, Xena stopped crying. She looked at Gabrielle; the woman that had saved her from a certain trip to Tartarus. The one who stood by her when no one else would. How could she kill this gentleperson?

"Xena, I need to know. Will you stop me if I turn into a psychotic warlord." Gabrielle repeated, barely controlling tears of her own.

"Yes, but only after we try everything else." Xena said.

"Thank you, I canít imagine how hard that was for you. One more thing you have to promise me: You wonít return to your former warlord ways." Gabrielle said

"That wonít be a problem." Xena said in a hushed voice

"Gabrielle, you need your rest. Drink this; itíll make you sleep." Altos said, handing over another mug

"Iíll be back tomorrow. Sleep well, my bard." Xena said in a soft tone

The smell of fresh nutbread roused Gabrielle out of bed. The second thing she noticed was her own smell. Next was the dull ache in her shoulder; followed by her bladder. As Gabrielle sat up on the cot, Xena came over with a small plate of nutbread.

"Here you are, did you sleep well?" The warrior Princess asked

"Very well. I think I need a bath and I definitely need to go to the outhouse." Answered the bard

"Last time we tried that, you kneed me in the face." Laughed Xena

"I promise I wonít do it again." Gabrielle laughed too

Several candlemarks later, Gabrielle was slowly stretching her arm. Altos wanted to see if there was any permanent damage. The pain was bad, but she didnít let it show. Altos was watching her with a careful eye. He noticed that the swelling had subsided in her face and the bruise was beginning to yellow and fade, both were good signs. Xena was worried about how to defeat the evil inside Gabrielle. She wasnít thrilled with the idea of traveling with a possible psychopath; however, killing her wasnít an option. Gabrielle winced as her shoulder reminded her of the injury.

"Are you all right?" asked a concerned Xena

"Ya, just the shoulder. Do you still have horse liniment?" noting Altosí raised eye "That stuff works miracles." Responded Gabrielle

"Itís in Argoís saddle bags. Iíll go get it and meet you in the bath house." Xena said as she walked out of the healerís hut

"Where is the bath house? I canít remember anything outside of this hut." Gabrielle asked

"Go down the street about 15 buildings and turn left at the black Smithís shop. The bathhouse is the long building on the right. It was build around some hot springs. Do you need some help getting there?" Altos inquired

"Thank you, but Iíll manage." Gabrielle said as she picked up her travel bag that contained her soap and her staff.

"I would like to see you, this afternoon to check your shoulder. And I donít want you to use it too much today." Instructed Altos

"O Kay. See you later." Gabrielle chirped, happy to be anywhere other than on her back

 

"THATíS HER!" someone shouted

Gabrielle turned her head looking for Ďherí, whoever that was. Suddenly she was knocked to the ground and both her arms were wrenched behind her back. The injured shoulder flared in pain. She tried to pull her injured arm forward to relieve the pressure on her shoulder; one of the men took that as a sign of escape and punched her in the kidneys several times.

"Quit struggling, or you wonít make it to trial." Stated the garrison commander, as he placed his dagger blade against the bardís throat.

"Whatís the charge?" Gabrielle asked as the soldiers hoisted her to a standing position

"Murder." The commander answered

"There has to be a mistake. Iím not a murderer; Iím a bard." Gabrielle stated weakly

"Let her go. She didnít do anything." Came a voice from behind the men

Xena, thank Artimes Gabrielle thought as the pain from her shoulder and kidneys almost made her pass out.

"What concern is this to you? And there are ten men who saw her kill that man in the bar two days ago. So how could she have not do it." Replied Krost, the garrison commander

"She has a condition that causes temporary madness. She can not be held accountable, for that crime." Xena asked, "I accidentally injured her right shoulder, could you retie that arm to her side?"

"She will be held responsible and no I would retie her arm." Krost simply stated

Gabrielle could feel the anger welling up from the pit of her stomach. She slowly worked her hands back and forth, the same way Xena had. Not one man was watching her; everyone was viewing the exchange between Krost and Xena. Gabrielle crept up to one of the men and used the spinal point on him. She caught the falling soldier and relieved him of his broad sword.

Gabrielle let out her own Battle Cry as she attacked the unit. Most of the soldiers ran from the sword-wielding bard. She saw the one who had struck her in the kidneys and tripped him. Sitting on top of this man, Gabrielle began to punch him in the back.

"Doesnít feel so go now does it?" She asked as a rib cracked

"Gabrielle, stop this." Xena ordered.

Gabrielle gazed up at the Warrior Princess, a look of bewilderment on her face. Slowly she got

off the soldier.

"What happened? What was I doing sitting on this man? Xena you have to help me, please." Gabrielle asked tears streaming down her face.

"You see, she is a violent murderer. She must be tried and hung." Krost bellowed

"Sheís not violent, and you have to get by me to get her. Iíve defeated giants, aided the gods,

and have held Caesar captive; do you think I afraid of you?" Xena asked Rhetorically "Letís get you cleaned up."

"Xena, I asked you to kill me. Why didnít you?" Gabrielle asked calmly

The tone of the question caught Xena off guard. "I said only after every other option had been tried. We havenít tried everything yet. Hereís the bath house."

The two women walked in and found that no one was watching the springs. Xena selected one room that had a door and hurried her partner inside, bolting the door behind them. Xena began to help Gabrielle out of her blouse and skirt. The bruise on her shoulder had spread, that worried her. What really worried the former warlord was the new bruises on Gabrielleís lower back.

"Get in the water. Iíll be there in a minute." Xena said as she began to remove her armor.

"Did you get the liniment?" asked Gabrielle, easing into the steaming water

"Yes, I did. Get your shoulder under the water for a few minutes, itíll help the liniment work." Xena instructed

Gabrielle moved lower in the hot bath. She took this opportunity to dunk her head and wash her remaining hair. Gabrielle turned to face Xena, and was caught off guard for a moment.

By the Gods, sheís beautiful. Gabrielle thought, as Xena entered the bath

Xena noticed the stare of her companion. She had caught Gabrielle looking at her several times before, but figured it was just curiosity. This time it was different somehow. Xena saw how the younger woman turned quickly to avoid her glance. How can I approach her about this? Sheís got enough on her mind without me telling her about my feelings. Xena wondered

"O Kay, letís see to that shoulder." Xena said softly, situating herself behind Gabrielle

The older woman began to work the strong liniments into Gabrielleís shoulder. The recipient of all this attention began to feel very warn, and calm. The world slowly disappeared and the only people left were Xena and herself. She began to fantasize about herself and the Warrior Princess. Gabrielle didnít even realize her hands were stroking her thighs. Xena saw this and out of surprise stopped. Gabrielle crashed back to reality.

"Is there something wrong? Do you hear someone coming?" Gabrielle asked as she scanned the room

"Relax, the only one coming was you." Xena calmed her "You were really getting into that massage. Howís the shoulder?"

Turning to face Xena, "My shoulderís fine, but what can I do about my heart. Xena, Iíve never felt like this before; not even with Perdicus. I think that I love you. Is there something else wrong with me?" Gabrielle wept.

Xena hugged her friend, slowly rocking her. "No Gabrielle thereís nothing wrong with you, except that violent streak in you."

"I have a violent streak" Gabrielle said with a humorous tone, "This from Xena, Destroyer of Nations."

Xena began to stroke the younger womanís face, careful not to aggravate the swelled areas. Gabrielle closed her eyes and sank into the feelings. Xena leaned over slightly and softly kissed Gabrielleís cheek. Gabrielle turned her head and return the kiss. Xenaís hands had began to roam over the supple young body of the bard. As they covered the taunt muscles of her abdomen, she shivered and her nipples became erect. Gabrielle tightened her hold on the Warrior Princess, and kissed her full on the mouth. Xenaís head was spinning with emotions she hadnít felt in many seasons. Gabrielleís tongue snaked its way into Xenaís mouth as her hands ran over the warriorís back. Xenaís own hands were working on Gabrielleís buttocks, kneading and massaging them.

Gabrielle finally broke their kiss. "Xena, I have to tell you something; Iíve never done this before. Well, not with a woman. I did this once with Perdicus, but there was no real feelings."

"If you donít feel ready for this, then weíll wait." Xena reassured her

After a momentís pause, "O Kay, Iím ready" Gabrielle stated as she straddled Xenaís thighs.

As the pair kissed, Xena worked her hands under Gabrielle. Carefully she lifted the lighter woman up and out of the bath. She turned and gently laid Gabrielle down. The stone of the bathhouse was cold but Xena was making her hotter by the second. Gods how does she do this? Is there some academy or did she learn this from someone? Gabrielle thought as Xena slowly kissed down her body to the apex of her thighs. The bard gasped as Xenaís tongue ran the length of her vagina. Never before had she ever felt like this. Her mind spun with sensation upon sensation. All thoughts stopped when Xenaís skillful tongue brushed across her clitoris. She arched her back, moaning, to allow more of herself to experience this divine torture. Biting her lip to prevent herself form screaming, Gabrielle felt muscles she didnít know she had begin to spasm.

"Oh gods Xena, Donít stop!" yelled Gabrielle as the waves of pleasure rolled over her.

As her breathing slowed, Gabrielle felt Xena return to her core. No more. Please not yet. Her mind begged, but her body went with the situation. Xena placed both of Gabrielleís legs over her shoulders. As exposed as she was, Gabrielle felt safe with this woman. Xenaís tongue returned to the still moist folds of Gabrielle; however, here hands went towards the bards buttocks. Gabrielleís breath caught as Xenaís tongue started to work on her clitoris. Xena thought that now was the time. She slowly eased one finger into Gabrielleís cannel.

"Oh gods. Xena, what are you doing?" the bard asked breathlessly

"You didnít like that? Iíll never do that again." Xena apologized

"Like it, I love it. Donít stop." Reassured Gabrielle as she grabbed Xenaís hand. "I want you to show me everything."

"Thereís not enough time to show you everything right now. How about just the basics to start?" Xena joked, her hand returning.

Gabrielleís whole world became Xena and the sensations that were radiating from her loins. As she spiraled towards a second organism, Xena removed her finger and clamped her mouth around the younger womanís sex. Gabrielle was about to protest this removal, but gasped as when she felt it gently probing her anus. Gabrielleís body offered little resistance to this intrusion, already relaxed from the hot bath and building orgasm. The new sensations brought about her release even faster. Gabrielle slide back into the bath, as she cooled down.

After a few minutes, she had recovered enough to speak. "That was amazing. The finger was something I never experienced before. Where did you learn all that?"

"About 10 seasons ago." Xena answered nonchalantly

"Come over here, warrior." Gabrielle said

Gabrielle began to kiss Xenaís full breasts and sucking the nipples to full erection. Her smaller hands worked done Xenaís body, finding her folds moist and hot. As one, then another finger slipped into her; Xena started to pant. Gabrielle slowly walked Xena to the edge of the pool. Realizing that she could not lift the larger woman, Gabrielle simply eased Xena to the floor. Remembering what Xena had done, Gabrielle began to lick down the length of Xenaís body. She learns fast thought the Warrior Princess as Gabrielle reached her sex. Gabrielle placed a thumb on each lip and gentle spread them to expose Xena. The bardís eager tongue started its conquest of Xena. Never had anyone caused this sort of pleasure; Gabrielleís finger were searching for the one place that would drive the warrior over the edge.

Xena, sensing what her lover was doing lifted her hip slightly, aiding in the search. Xenaís eyes rolled in their sockets when the bard finally located the area. Xena tried to tell Gabrielle that she had found it, but the pleasure wouldnít allow her to speak. Gabrielle could tell by the spasms that she had found her goal. Xena could no longer control the raging passions within her; she tensed for the briefest moment and then went limp.

Gabrielle, wanting to please Xena in a similar manner, rolled Xena on to her stomach. Xena could not understand why Gabrielle had done this, but trusted her not to hurt her. Gabrielle pulled a rag out of her travel bag and dipped it into a mug of cold water. With this, she carefully reached up and cleaned the juices from Xenaís thighs. The cold cloth on her hot skin was a sweet torture. She felt her nipples contract, then the cloth was gone. Raising her head, Xena was about to turn around when she felt a finger tease her clitoris. As if signaled somehow, Gabrielleís tongue slowly licked around her anus. Spiraling inward, the bard skillfully licked Xena into a frenzy. Xena knew from past experience that she couldnít hold out for long; this woman was too skilled.

The warrior felt the Gabrielleís tongue leave her, only to replaced by the finger that had been teasing her. This was the catalyst for a mind numbing orgasm. Xena felt as if she could never get enough air into her lungs. Sweat stinging her eyes; she turned to face the younger woman.

"Where did you learn all that? I have never seen anyone learn that quickly." She said in between pants.

"I had a wonderful teacher." Gabrielle replied

"I need to get another bath." Xena said, still unable to move "How is your shoulder?"

"A little stiff, but not too bad. I need to use the outhouse." Gabrielle stated as she moved towards the door

"Arenít you forgetting something?" Xena asked with a wicked smile

"Oh ya, sorry." Gabrielle apologized. She walked back and kissed Xena

"I meant you donít have any clothes on. Youíll catch a cold. Although, I could get use to that." Xena corrected

"Too bad warrior, thatís the last fun youíll have in this existence." Cackled the evil Gabrielle

"NO, have to stop the anger." Whispered Gabrielle through clenched teeth.

"Give up Gabrielle, you know that being bad is more fun." Came the answer, from Gabrielle. "Now be a good girl and give in to your hatred and your anger, become the warrior that you were meant to be and letís go have some fun."

"Gabrielle, donít listen to her, you never wanted to be a warrior, you wanted to go to that Bard Academy. Remember?" Cried Xena, trying to help "her" Gabrielle.

"Stay out of this fight Warrior Princess, this is between me and Gabby."

"I hate when people call me ĎGabbyí now get out of my head you psycho bitch!" roared the Bard Gabrielle. "Xena, help me."

"I donít know how, Artimes said this was one enemy you have to fight on your own."

"See Gabby, even your so called Ďfriendsí are abandoning you. How you like them apples?" Laughed the Warrior Gabrielle

"I said ĎDONíT CALL ME GABBYí" bellowed the bard

SLAP!

"Whyíd you hit me Gabby?" asked the stunned Warrior Bard

"Because you called me Gabby." Answered Gabrielle, as she smacked he face again

As Xena watched the exchange of blows, she noted that a second face briefly appeared. An idea came to her; maybe she could help the Bard. Xena walked up to her friend and punched her in the stomach. As Gabrielle doubled over Xena noticed that a second back emerged for the one person.

Yes!!! This could work, if I donít beat her to death. Thought the warrior princess, as she backhanded Gabrielle

Gabrielle, now with several extra body parts showing, slowly raised to all fours, Xena stepped up and kicked her in the ribs. A second whole Gabrielle landed not far from the original.

All right, now itís all up to Gabrielle. Thought Xena

Xena, she will not survive this battle. What ever happens to one, will happen to the other. We will most certainly lose her now. Xena heard the voice of Artimes whisper in her mind

Oh Artimes, what have I done? Thought Xena as her knees gave out. She watched the two Gabrielles fight.

Two stated playing mind games "Gabrielle, look I like you. We could rule this land. Imagine that; power, wealth, slaves, anything you even wanted."

"Nothing that ever appealed to me." Replied the Bard

"O Kay, just checking. Now I have to kill you." Answered Two in a half crazed tone

The warrior charged the Bard and connected with a vicious double backhand. Both women went down.

"When did you hit me, I hit you. Twice. Really hard." Griped Two

I canít fight her, how can I defeat her? If I stop her, I kill myself. Thought the Amazon Princess, I canít kill her, I canít beat her up, what do I do?

"Here Gabrielle!" shouted Xena, throwing Gabrielleís staff to her.

Gabrielle, believe in yourself. You can defeat this evil. Came the reassuring voice of Artimes, as Gabrielle caught the staff

"Xena for this battle I donít need any weapons, I know what I have to do." Stated the Bard as she calmly dropped the staff.

"Are you nuts, donít give up a tactical advantage." Replied Xena

"That will make killing you all the easier." Gloated Two as she charged

Gabrielle turned to face her Doppelganger; "I forgive you."

"What did you say?" Asked a surprised warrior

"I forgave Xena for her past atrocities, and now I forgive you." Answered the Bard

The evil Gabrielle was visible stunned by the kindness, but pressed her attack. "I didnít ask for, and donít want your pity. Iím a warrior, not some wimpy little bard."

"I will not fight you." Stated Gabrielle without the slightest hint of fear in her voice, "you can not defeat me."

"You wanna bet." Snarled the evil Gabrielle, "I can do anything."

"No, you canít. You can not feel anything other than hate, anger, and fear." Continued the Bard, her voice gaining strength "Youíve cut yourself off from the greatest of emotions: Love, friendship, Joy, and Happiness. You are an incomplete person, you can not exists without me."

Xena finally understood what was going on; Gabrielle had forgiven herself for killing that woman on the altar of Dahak.

"I can exists without you, I CAN!" bellowed Two as she swung at Gabrielleís face.

Bracing for the impact, Gabrielle was surprised as the fist passed right through her chin.

"What?" asked a rapidly weakening Two "how did you do that?"

"I defeated you with kindness, the one emotion that you canít understand." Replied the Bard as she reached for her evil clone. As the two women touched, the clone vanished into Gabrielle.

"Is she gone?" Asked Xena

"No, sheíll never be gone completely. She is part of me, like your own dark side." Answered Gabrielle "I have to be careful to keep my anger in check now, no telling what could happen if she gets lose again."

"But this time youíll have help. I will never leave you." Xena said as she kissed Gabrielle


The End?


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